Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

The horror of the decade is over.
President Barack Obama has turned the ship of state.
God Bless the United States of America.
Happy New Year, everybody.
Now let's keep the momentum going.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Demintsanut

I've experienced anti-union rhetoric a couple of times this past week from people who don't understand the labor movement and don't realize that the working conditions they enjoy are a result of that movement.

Today, an article in the Washington Post reveals that the right wing Senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint, is holding up the confirmation of the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. The reason? ........Senator DeMint is worried that President Obama's nominee, Erroll Southers, who was a former FBI special agent and a counterterrorism expert, might be willing to allow the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) workers to unionize.

Southers is well qualified and has support from both sides of the isle. But gosh, wouldn't it be awful if we had to provide good benefits and descent wages to baggage handlers?

At a time when our country is trying to do all it can to protect us from terrorists, these anti-union republicans and right wing union haters aren't doing us any favors.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

UNIONS 101

A Quick Study of How Unions Help Workers Win a Voice on the Job

What is a union?

A union is a group of workers who form an organization to gain:

  • Respect on the job,
  • Better wages and benefits,
  • More flexibility for work and family needs,
  • A counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers, and
  • A voice in improving the quality of their products and services.
How do people form a union?

When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them form their own local chapter. Once a majority of workers shows they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers’ choice. Often, the workers must ask the government to hold an election. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party’s rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Does the law protect workers joining unions?

It’s supposed to—but too often it doesn’t. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. For example, it’s illegal for employers to threaten to shut down their businesses or to fire employees or take away benefits if workers form a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent.

What kinds of workers are forming unions today?

A wider range of people than ever before, including many women and immigrants, is joining unions—doctors and nurses, poultry workers and graduate employees, home health care aides and wireless communications workers, auto parts workers and engineers, to name a few.

How do unions help working families today?

Through unions, workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job—and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2007, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $863, compared with $663 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.

What have unions accomplished for all workers?

Unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers’ safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage, for example. Unions are continuing the fight today to improve life for all working families in America.

What challenges do workers face today when they want to form unions?

Today, thousands of workers want to join unions. The wisest employers understand that when workers form unions, their companies also benefit. But most employers fight workers’ efforts to come together by intimidating, harassing and threatening them. In response, workers are reaching out to their communities for help exercising their freedom to improve their lives.

Source: AFL-CIO

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thank You Senator Bayh

This morning, the United States Senate passed healthcare reform. All of the Democrats voted for the bill, and because it will help to prevent human suffering, misery, pain and death, naturally, all of the Republicans voted against the bill.


All of our hard work on behalf of those who need affordable health insurance has paid off. Our country finally is doing the right thing for Americans suffering under the stranglehold that insurance companies have had on all of us.


This bill will go a long way to control costs, and prevent people having to file for bankruptcy due to the cost of health care. It will help to prevent fraud and abuse, and will allow for coverage for 31 million more Americans.


The Democrats never gave up even with all of the lies and distortions, delay and fear mongering from the right wing.


Finally, Americans will have affordable health care without having to go to a hospital emergency room, and will be able to have preventative care.


The task is not complete though. Now, the House version will have to be reconciled with the Senate version. Then, the House will vote on that result, and then the Senate will vote on the result.


No more denying people with preexisting conditions.


The vote was 60 votes in favor of the bill and 39 votes against it.


Hopefully, the bill will be changed even more for the better as it goes through the process.


Thanks to all who helped in any way to do the right thing.


Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana deserves our thanks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank You Mitch Daniels

The health care reform bill being considered in the U.S. Senate is not easy to understand. There has been so much confusion and misinformation and lies about it from the Republicans.

That concern was put to rest for me this morning when I saw that Indiana’s Governor, Mitch Daniels, said that it’s bad. His conclusion along with that of Indiana’s Senator, Richard Lugar clinched it for me. Since they say that it’s bad, I’m convinced that it must be good enough to be reconciled with the House version and be made even better.

Whatever a right winger says, the exact opposite is true.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Physician Crooks

I was just watching Senator Tom Colburn, Republican from Oklahoma, on C-Span.

Senator Coburn is an M.D..

In talking about defensive medicine, Coburn said that he orders tests every day, not tests that his patients need, but tests that he needs, in order to protect himself from frivolous law suits.

I think that Senator Coburn and any other physician that orders unnecessary medical tests for a patient simply to protect his own skin, is a stinking crook.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanks, Joe Donnelly

I want to thank our Congressman, Joe Donnelly, for supporting seniors by voting for the health insurance reform legislation. Congressman Donnelly has always demonstrated that he is a champion of senior citizens and retirees. I cannot understand why any Congressman or Senator would do otherwise.

The medical insurance companies have had their own way for far too long making life miserable for so many retirees and seniors.
The misinformation from the right wing is their age old attempt to eventually do away with Medicare. By scaring seniors, they hope to pressure enough legislators to keep things as they are.

Fortunately seniors have umbrella organizations looking out for them. Organizations like the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), and the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) that work tirelessly in their support of retirees and seniors, and all three of these organizations support the health insurance reform legislation.

Every retiree and senior citizen can help to save Medicare and guarantee their medical insurance benefits by writing or phoning Congressman Donnelly, Senator Bayh, and Senator Lugar and urge them to vote in favor of healthcare reform without any more delay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Many Thanks To Ken Zeller and Congratulations to Nancy Guyott


Nancy Guyott is our new Indiana AFL-CIO President. She was elected at the Indiana State AFL-CIO convention a few days ago. Nancy is a real go getter and will serve Indiana's working families and retirees very well.

Nancy replaces retiring President, Ken Zeller. I first became acquainted with Ken in 1980 when he took over the collection of the medical insurance premiums for our union workers at the Northern Indiana Public Service Company when that company refused to do that when they forced the workers out on strike. Ken then became President of Local 12775 and served our local union very well.
He then became Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Labor.

I wish both of these champions of labor well in the future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do not be discouraged

Even though the right wingers are willing to say no to every piece of legislation, we will get a good health care bill passed in the U.S. Senate.
We all just have to keep up the good fight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Plight of American Manufacturing

As London is the market of England, to which the best of all things find their way, so Rome was the market of the Mediterranean world; but there was this difference between the two, that in Rome the articles were not paid for. Money, indeed, might be given, but it was money which had not been earned, and which therefore would come to its end at last.

Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought nothing out but loads of dung. That was their return cargo. London turns dirt into gold. Rome turned gold into dirt. And how, it may be asked, was the money spent? The answer is not difficult to give. Rome kept open house. It gave a dinner party every day; the emperor and his favourites dined upon nightingales and flamingo tongues, on oysters from Britain, and on fishes from the Black Sea; the guards received their rations; and bacon, wine, oil, and loaves were served out gratis to the people. Sometimes entertainments were given in which a collection of animals as costly as that in Regent's Park was killed for the amusement of the people. Constantine transferred the capital to Constantinople; and now two dinners were given every day. Egypt found the bread for one, and Africa found it for the other. The governors became satraps, the peasantry became serfs, the merchants and land owners were robbed and ruined, the empire stopped payment, the legions of the frontier marched on the metropolis, the dikes were deserted, and then came the deluge.

Source: “The Martyrdom of Man,” by Winwood Reade, 1872 - and from page 1 of "Manufacturing A Better Future For America" Edited by Richard McCormack

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Great Manure Tea

If you should find yourself with some left over Christmas cards made in Communist China, feel free to mail them to me. I think they'd make terrific manure tea for my garden next spring.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 1965 was a very good year

Forty four years ago, it was, that Elaine and I tied the knot. December 11, 1965. She's been a terrific wife. A man couldn't ask for more. I love her.
She's making me cookies tonight.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Listen to the Truth about Medicare and health care reform



Crocodile Tears for Medicare
Posted By NCPSSM

For three full days, the Senate debate over health care reform has been loaded with misinformation and scare tactics targeted directly at seniors. Among the most recent outrageous claims are that seniors will die sooner if health care reform passes and health care reform will cut Medicare benefits. Both are simply not true.

Today we joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Tom Harkin (IA) at a news conference offering the truth about health care reform and it’s impact on Medicare. We also announced our support for an amendment introduced by Senator Bennet today, which expressly prohibits any reductions in guaranteed Medicare benefits and makes sure all savings are reinvested back into Medicare.


We’ve said it before but clearly it must be said again…and again…and again.

“Don’t Touch Medicare” may sound like a good slogan but it’s a fatal strategy for the program.

Here's why:

Benefits cuts are not included in health care reform legislation being debated but that’s exactly what beneficiaries will ultimately face if we do nothing. The status quo isn’t sustainable and failure to pass health care reform is not an option for seniors who rely on Medicare. Without reform, neither seniors nor the government will be able to afford the program and Medicare will be targeted with unprecedented benefit cuts, higher premiums, and growing out-of-pocket costs.

If health care costs continue to grow unchecked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts, total spending on health care would rise from 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 to 49 percent in 2082. Federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid would rise from 4 percent of GDP in 19 percent in 2082. Benefits cuts are NOT proposed in the House reform legislation; however, without health care reform, it is inevitable that Medicare and Medicaid will face deep cuts and benefit cuts for seniors will be on the table then. Arbitrarily cutting Medicare without addressing system wide health care reform is not a hypothetical financial exercise. It would have real impacts on real people, most of whom have nowhere else to go for coverage and limited options for increasing their resources.

The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which pays for Medicare Part A, is projected to be exhausted by 2017. Without reform, seniors will bear an increasing burden of higher out-of-pocket costs—costs which already consume about one-quarter of the average senior’s Social Security benefit. Without reform, that amount will continue to grow far beyond the average beneficiaries ability to keep up. The Part D doughnut hole alone is projected to double with in the next decade.

Consider this: Health care reform’s most vocal opponents in Congress have also been philosophically opposed to the existence of social safety net programs like Medicare in the first place. Media Matters reports Senators who are leading the current charge to prevent reforms in Medicare have actually supported $1.57 billion in Medicare cuts in the past—and much of those were direct cuts in benefits.

Given the current health care crisis in America, health care opponents’ strategy of “Don’t Touch Medicare” will ultimately achieve the same goal proposed by Medicare’s opponents back in the 1990’s to let Medicare “whither on the vine”.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I Stand By Our President

I am a professed Christian. I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe that a person when assaulted should turn the other cheek rather than fight back. However, I must at the same time, confess that I am not a perfect Christian and that if attacked, I would defend myself.

I know that President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will be a controversial one, but I support his decision.

I was seventeen years old during the Vietnam war, enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and served aboard a destroyer in the South Pacific. At the time, I was in favor of that war having been indoctrinated in the domino theory of fighting against Communism and was pretty gung-ho about it, especially when it was reported that three destroyers had been attacked in the Tonkin Golf.

After my tour was up and I began seeing and reading news reports about that war, and found out that the Tonkin Golf incident was a fabrication, I changed my mind about Vietnam.

After 9-11, I was in favor of our country sending troops to Afghanistan in order to eliminate Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and those who master minded the attack against our country. But when President Bush hi-tailed it out of Afghanistan to fight his and Cheney’s personal war in Iraq, I became convinced that the United States should get out of Afghanistan and I had that belief until the President’s speech last night.

The President didn’t come to a quick decision about what to do in Afghanistan, but was controversially deliberate in making that decision.

I believe that he would rather be able to devote his time and our resources in repairing what the right wingers have done to our country, but after a lengthy study of all of our options he has determined that it is in our country’s best interest to finish what we started in Afghanistan.

I listened carefully to his speech last night and I trust his judgement in this case.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Looking back -looking forward


The following letter was written by Ken Kovack, Legislative Director for the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) and appears here with his permission.

November 25, 2009

From: Ken Kovack, Legislation, Washington, DC Office
Message:

Looking back – looking forward:

During the last year of the Bush administration, as his ratings in the polls were dropping and the public mood for change was taking place, a historic election was in the making. At the same time our financial system and Wall Street was near collapse, companies “too big to fail” would be seeking government aid to bail them out of the enormous cost of their poor decisions impacting here, and around the world. Regardless of the situation CEO bonuses would be sought at taxpayers expense even as these executive decisions caused bankruptcies and higher unemployment with predictions by economists that the rise in unemployment would continue into the first and second quarter of the year 2010 before beginning to abate. The stark comparison here is that Wall Street and the bankers are again doing well as trickle down economics is not creating enough jobs, even with the stimulus dollars, to favorably improve the unemployment projections. Now, republicans and some democrats are angry at President Obama for not dong enough even as they make complaints about the increasing national debt. Be reminded of the following as you consider President Obama’s extensive efforts for bipartisan support.

Looking back, the Bush/Cheney Administration inherited from the Clinton/Gore Administration, the largest budget surplus on record. According to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan, Bush squandered the surplus in about a year stating, prior to his first tax cut, that we could cut taxes, continue to balance the budget and pay down our national debt. That promise failed.

The Bush/Cheney Administration was the only administration to lead us into two wars and continue to reduce taxes. That policy denied our government the resources necessary to conduct the two wars and the normal costs associated with running the government. There is more but let’s move forward.

After winning the race for the presidency, the Obama/Biden administration inherited the largest deficit in our nation’s history, two wars, increasing unemployment, a failed foreign policy, a Republican minority in Congress that voted overwhelmingly against the Obama/Biden stimulus plan and not one Republican voted for the first Obama/Biden budget proposal. (A reminder. Not one Republican voted for the first Clinton/Gore budget proposal that lowered the annual budget deficit by $40 billion.) In addition, all of us are familiar with the ongoing Republican opposition to health care reform that so many agree is vital to meeting the needs of ordinary Americans, the millions presently uninsured and the general economy. And I would be remiss if not reminding you that only five Republican Senators voted for the Fair Pay Act requiring equal pay for women employed performing the same jobs as men.

Where Do We Stand?:

It is not news to remind you that the voices of conservative Republicans in and out of Congress have stated that they hope the Obama/Biden administration fails. Two well known conservatives in the ranks of Republican opposition to President Obama, Floyd and Mary B. Brown, have suggested that he be impeached. Obviously, they want conservative Republicans in control of the White House and the Congress regardless of what their distortions of the truth and wishes for failure will cost the nation. We don’t stand with them. We don’t stand with those that distort the truth, raise our fears and oppose programs helpful to the general public. We stand for truth, justice, fairness and change. We are distressed that unemployment remains so high especially while Wall Street and the banking industry are again profitable.

As a nation of people we seem too often to be in a hurry to get things done, get where we are going and too often easily dissatisfied. Considering all the negatives that the Obama/Biden administration inherited are we asking for or expecting too much too soon? Put yourself in their shoes and perhaps ask, what would I do to improve our nations overall conditions while confronting the opposition. After eight years of getting the nation into a state of decline, is it reasonable to suggest that it will take more than a year to recover especially considering the constant opposition?

This President, I believe, wants to be a peoples President. Reaching out for bipartisanship in the interest of fairness and change has been offered in word and action without results. Looking ahead, the lack of Republican bipartisanship, at least meeting Democrats halfway, is evident in their actions, distortions and opposition votes as proof that the Obama administration will always have trouble in bringing about the changes in his campaign agenda. Americans voted for change. Bipartisan efforts are not working. Looking ahead, next years elections will require our continued and sustained involvement ever hopeful of a larger House and Senate majority to act on the promise of not only Health Reform now, but also to fulfill the administration agenda for Green Jobs, the economy, reform our education system and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act..

No one ever said reaching these legislative goals and successful elections will be easy. They never are. But success is always a hope as sometimes expressed in the statement regarding public policy, the harder we work the more success we can enjoy. This is additionally important because of next year’s national census that begins in March. House, Senate, Governor’s and state races, congressional redistricting and public funding are all part of the mix in which the Census has impact. Who will you want in office to make these important decisions?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Treat your paper carrier good

Well, I hope you all enjoyed a great Thanksgiving Day.

Receiving the South Bend Tribune on Thanksgiving brought back memories of my days as a paper boy in Hobart.

There were about twenty of us, all boys in those days, that delivered the Chicago Tribune. We would all meet in “the office” to fold our papers and stuck off from there. We could always gage how difficult the morning would be by the number of pages the newspaper had.

We all were well aware that the newspaper on Thanksgiving had the most pages of any paper all year, and didn’t look forward to that delivery and we tried our best to fill our canvas paper bags to the brim without room to spare so that we wouldn’t have to make another trip back to the “office”. Of course, that made the first several papers that much more difficult to remove from the bag. Plus, we weren’t able to heave them with as much ease or with as much accuracy as we could on the rest of the days of the year.

I tried to be more accurate in throwing the paper with customers who didn’t give me a rough time about paying their bill on collection day. And of course, those who weren’t cheap when it came to tipping got the best treatment.

Please be good tippers to your paper boy/girl. They get paid just peanuts for their hard work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank you Senator Bayh

Congratulations and thanks to all of you who attended town hall meetings, demonstrated, wrote letters, made phone calls, visited with your Senators, prayed, etc. etc. for meaningful health care reform.

This evening, all fair minded members of the U.S. Senate voted to begin the debate on the health care reform legislation that will mean so much for working Americans and retirees.

Special thanks to Senator Evan Bayh for voting the correct way.

And I must say shame shame to the right wingers who would vote no to health care reform strictly for political reasons.

Republicans continue to be the party of no.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Charlie is my kind of guy

For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving is home, food, and family. And for many of us, the inevitable polite conversation with the uncle who has squandered too many hours listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

How are you to survive an evening with your Uncle Mortimer?

You know, the uncle who looks vaguely like Dick Cheney. He worships Ronald Reagan, considers "French" an insult, and wants to know where Obama was really born. Neither he nor his wife, Aunt Minerva, ever tips more than ten percent.

Uncle Mort knows you're a "liberal," and he eagerly sits next to you at the Thanksgiving table, armed and ready with the usual conservative tripe. Not surprisingly, he starts with what's hot:

***

Thanksgiving Day: Gearing up for the Chat with Uncle Mort

Mort: You hear about Sarah Palin's new book?

Charlie: Uhhh...

Mort: She's on the march! Giving Republicans some backbone. Given the mess Obama has made of things, Americans are going to sweep Democrats out in the fall.

Charlie: We'll see. Didn't work out for Republicans very well in upstate New York.

Mort: You watch. A Palin-Beck ticket will cast out Obama and his socialist crowd. The turkey.

Charlie: Please, Obama's no turkey, he...

Mort: No, no. Pass the turkey. The problem with Barack Hussein Obama is that he's spending us into bankruptcy. And it hasn't worked!

Charlie: How long did it take you to get that shop of yours to turn a profit? Two, three years. So Obama inherits the worst economy since the Great Depression, two wars, a broken health care system, an economic hole that took years to dig - and you want miracles in 10 months? In fact, he staved off the crash and the economy is showing some signs of life. More needs to be done.

If it weren't for the Recovery Act, layoffs at your nieces' schools would be twice as bad. In fact, what we need is more federal help - for states, for jobs rebuilding schools and roads. We need more jobs programs, not less. The gravy...

Mort: More spending isn't gravy, America can't afford it.

Charlie: No, no, pass the gravy please.

Actually, we need more federal spending now. Unemployment could remain over 10 percent through all of next year unless Congress creates jobs. We need to put young people to work, aid states and localities to prevent layoffs of police and teachers, and expand investments in new energy and infrastructure to boost our economy.

We can afford it. Interest rates aren't soaring. And our debt and deficits will get worse if we don't get the economy going.

Mort: Ha! Your party is already going to create a one-trillion dollar deficit with its plan for a government takeover of all health care.

Charlie: It's funny you say that. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the health care reform legislation will lower the federal deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years.

And it's not just about cost. Aunt Mary is terrified about losing her job because she won't get insured with her current ailments.

Well, under the reform, insurance companies no longer can deny people insurance for pre-existing conditions, or cut them off of insurance when they get sick. We've got a stake in this right here around this table.

Mort: Baloney.

Charlie: I don't think that's on tonight's menu.

Mort: You know what I mean. Like "global warming," or does Al Gore call it "climate change" now? Nothing but an excuse for a giant Pelosi energy tax.

Charlie: Come on, you can't believe this stuff. You don't want America to remain dependent on foreign oil, running up foreign debts to buy oil from countries that help finance the terrorists.

You laugh about ice caps melting - but I can tell you farmers care, and now insurance companies are starting to charge higher rates because of the cataclysms to come.

We both want America to succeed. Well, the green industrial revolution will be the engine of growth over the next decades. Obama's saying let's invest in new energy, new technology, new efficiency - both to get us off of our addiction to foreign oil and to help lead this new revolution. That's the way America built its prosperity - and its middle class.

Mort: Yea, but private companies provide jobs, not government. We don't capture new markets with government spending.

Charlie: Yes, private companies will profit and expand. But government investment has always been key to our industries.

Think airlines out of World War II. The Internet, which started as a Pentagon program. Computers, and now biotechnology.

If we want to compete in the new energy field, we need public and private leadership to drive this forward. If we don't, our grandchildren will inherit a frightening world. And the countries that work to capture these industries - the Chinese, the Germans - will eat our lunch in the new economy.

Mort: I'll think about lunch later. Look, what we need now is leadership to get us out of this hole. Obama is taking us into a free-fall.

Charlie: Leadership? Please. Where is the leadership on the Right? Limbaugh said on Day One he wanted Obama to fail. This while the country was in the midst of an economic crisis and two wars. Conservatives decided from the beginning that they would bet on his failure, and obstruct everything he tried to do - spurning his offers to negotiate. They chose to be the Party of No.

Mort: We conservatives have a plan. Cut spending, cut taxes. Let's get back to small government, free markets. A strong military. Dithering over Afghanistan isn't what made America strong.

Charlie: I understand, we'll have to agree to disagree. But remember, we tried that way for eight years, and let's face it, the result was calamity.

The longest and deepest recession and the worst financial crisis since the 1930's. One of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history - the preemptive war in Iraq.

An unprecedented rejection of fundamental human rights, a culture of sleaze, and Watergate-style abuses of power. Gilded Age economic inequality and a blind rejection of science.

And in the aftermath of one of our nation's worst natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina, there was sheer incompetence and indifference to human suffering.

The free-fall happened, and now we give thanks that the worst is over.

Next fall, Americans will have to decide if they want to go back that way. That's a debate I'll look forward to having.

Mort: Me too. We can agree to disagree. Pass me more of that turkey. I do agree it's particularly good this year.

Charlie: Thanks, I knew you'd like it. It's local and organic!

***

To all of you, whether your dinner companions shine red or blue, we at the Campaign for America's Future wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,


Robert L. Borosage, Co-director
Campaign for America's Future

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Retirees Praise Reid Health Bill

815 16th Street, NW, 4th Floor ♦ Washington, D.C. 20006 ♦ (202) 637-5399 ♦ www.retiredamericans.org

For Immediate Release Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275
November 19, 2009 dblank@retiredamericans.org


Step in Right Direction, Seniors Advocate Says


The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans congratulates Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for putting together a strong health care reform bill. The proposed legislation would make great strides in helping Americans of all ages better afford to see a doctor or get a prescription filled.

“Our nation’s retirees need lower prescription drug prices, the ability to get life-saving preventive screenings and testings, and an end to the Medicare Trust Fund-draining subsidies to the private insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage programs. Senator Reid’s bill offers solid progress in these important areas.

“We are pleased to see the bill include a public option. Because of Medicare, retirees know firsthand how important the public option is. Medicare is a great American success story. It has helped reduce senior poverty by two-thirds, and has shown a valuable role for the federal government in improving health care. A public option would be a refreshing alternative to the exorbitant premiums charged by the big insurance corporations who profit by denying care and discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

“As the bill moves through the Senate we will continue to oppose the taxation of health care benefits at any level. This would disproportionately harm retirees and older workers, as it may lead employers to eliminate or greatly reduce coverage for this age group. Moreover, these are individuals who sacrificed wage increases over the years in exchange for retiree health coverage.

“Grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans will continue to urge their elected officials to quickly pass a strong health reform bill. Millions of Americans need help right away. It is time for Congress to finish the job.”


The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 4 million retirees
and their families.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bishops Call For Withdrawal from Afghanistan

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

We greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

We, Bishops of The United Methodist Church, whose names appear below, are deeply concerned about the escalating war in Afghanistan.

We call upon you to set a timetable for the withdrawal of all coalition forces by the end of 2010.

The war has now lasted over 7 years, and there is no end in sight. During that time, 911 members of the US military and 591 coalition forces have been killed. October was the deadliest month since the war began. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed in the war.

The position of The United Methodist Church is that "war is incompatible with the teachings of Christ." Our vision is a world in which people live together in peace and with mutual respect. Our Church, the third largest religious denomination in the United States, has 11 million members with 40,000 local congregations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.

We pray that you will take our concerns seriously. Several years ago, more than 120 Bishops issued a "Statement of Repentance" for our failure to speak out early against the war in Iraq. We do not want to make that mistake again of remaining silent in the face of another widening war.

We believe there is no path to military victory in Afghanistan. We believe that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities.

We know that issues you face are difficult and complex. We pledge to uphold you with our prayers as you seek a just and peaceful resolution to the tragic war in Afghanistan.

God bless you.

Respectfully,

Christian Alsted, Copenhagen, Denmark
Daniel C. Arichea, Jr., Paranaque City, Philippines
Thomas J. Bickerton, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Bruce P. Blake, Winfield, Kansas
W. Earl Bledsoe, Plano, Texas
Heinrich Bolleter, Oberentfelden, Switzerland
Warner H. Brown, Jr., West Sacramento, California
Monk Bryan, Dallas, Texas
Minerva G. Carcaño, Scottsdale, Arizona
Kenneth Carder, Durham, North Carolina
Ray W. Chamberlain, Winchester, Virginia
Judith Craig, Powell, Ohio
Emilio J.M. de Carvalho, Luanda, Angola
Sudarshana Devadhar, Eatontown, New Jersey
Sally Dyck, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
R. Kern Eutsler, Mechanicsville, Virginia
Violet Fisher, Wilmington, Delaware
Elias G. Galvan, Scottsdale, Arizona
William Boyd Grove, Charleston, West Virginia
Grant Hagiya, Normandy Park, Washington
John Wesley Hardt, Dallas, Texas
Susan W. Hassinger, Schenectady, New York
J. Woodrow Hearn, Galveston, Texas
Kenneth W. Hicks, Little Rock, Arkansas
Robert T. Hoshibata, Portland, Oregon
John G. Innis, Monrovia, Liberia
Neil L. Irons, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
S. Clifton Ives, Portland, Maine
Alfred Johnson, Matawan, New Jersey
Peggy A. Johnson, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Charles W. Jordan, Upland, California
Rodolfo A. Juan, Baguio City, Philippines
Hee-Soo Jung, Chicago, Illinois
Charlene P. Kammerer, Richmond, Virginia
Kainda Katembo, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Deborah L. Kiesey, Mitchell, South Dakota
Walter Klaiber, Tuebingen, Germany
James Lloyd Knox, Gadsden, Alabama
Linda Lee, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Ernest S. Lyght, Charleston, West Virginia
Joao Somane Machado, Maputo, Mozambique
Marcus Matthews, Baldwinsville, New York
Felton E. May, Riverdale, New York
J. Lawrence McCleskey, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Calvin D. McConnell, Portland, Oregon
Marshall L. Meadors, Jr., Anderson, South Carolina
Jane Allen Middleton, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
William W. Morris, Gallatin, Tennessee
Susan M. Morrison, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Albert F. Mutti, Kansas City, Missouri
Abel T. Muzorewa, Harare, Zimbabwe
Alfred L. Norris, Jonesboro, Georgia
William B. Oden, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Donald A. Ott, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Bruce R. Ough, Worthington, Ohio
Gregory Vaughn Palmer, Springfield, Illinois
Jeremiah J. Park, New Rochelle, New York
Sharon Z. Rader, Chicago, Illinois
Beverly Shamana, Los Angeles, California
Ann B. Sherer-Simpson, Lincoln, Nebraska
Leo A. Soriano, Davao City, Philippines
C. Joseph Sprague, Columbus, Ohio
Elaine W. Stanovsky, Denver, Colorado
Forrest C. Stith, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Lito C. Tangonan, Manila, Philippines
Mary Virginia Taylor, Columbia, South Carolina
Solito K. Toquero, Cavite, Philippines
Jack M. Tuell, Des Moines, Washington
Hans Växby, Moscow, Russia
Hope Morgan Ward, Jackson, Mississippi
Peter D. Weaver, Reading, Massachusetts
Timothy W. Whitaker, Lakeland, Florida
D. Max Whitfield, Albuquerque, New Mexico
William H. Willimon, Birmingham, Alabama
Joe A. Wilson, Georgetown, Texas
Rosemarie Wenner, Frankfurt, Germany
Joseph H. Yeakel, Smithsburg, Maryland

If you would care to sign on to this letter, go HERE

Monday, November 16, 2009

Religious Leaders - Keep your views to yourselves

Every excuse in the world is being presented by the right wing nuts to derail health care reform.
Much of it is being advanced by our so called religious leaders, especially the bishops of the catholic church (all men, by the way) who have been provided with darned good medical insurance by their parishoners.

Well, I'm calling upon them to keep their mouths shut during a worship service in regard to medical insurance for Americans.

If they want to write a letter or make a phone call to their congressional representatives, or demonstrate, that's fine.

But their record of preaching what should or should not be done with regard to social justice in America, frankly, isn't all that great.

Call Senator Bayh

I just found out the the daughter of one of our retirees recently went bankrupt because of healthcare costs.

Please take a few minutes to Call Senator Bayh's office to let him know that the people of Indiana want Health Care Reform with a strong public option.

The AFLCIO has furnished us with a toll free number that you can call 1-877-323-5246 or 1-877-3AFLCIO.

For those of you who really want to see change, call this number everyday.

Thanks.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Petition for Jobs Now



Please click on the petition to the right to enlarge it. Then, print it out and mail it to us.

Thanks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Feel So Much Safer - Right Wingers are such hypocrites

Todays South Bend Tribune reports that the Indiana State Police have arrested a 49 year old woman for growing 90 marijuana plants in her home. Gosh, now don't you all feel so much safer?
Such poppy cock.
Today, the weed enthusiasts will be dispersing literally millions of marijuana seed along the county roads in Indiana.
So much for our tax dollars being dumped down the holes of the right wing toilets.

Speaking of right wing poop - Could it be true that the Republican National Committee employees have had abortion coverage since 1991 as reported?

Such hypocrites the republicans are. Two faced. Speakers with forked tongues. And this from the party that was putting up such a fuss a week ago about any type of abortion insurance coverage being in the house health care reform legislation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Which Congressman side with Working Families vs. Insurance Companies

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kenneth J. Zeller
Joseph Breedlove
317-632-9147

Reps. Carson, Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill and Visclosky
Get A+ for Historic Health Care Vote,
Health Care Vote Shows Who Sides With
Working Families vs. Insurance Companies

(Indianapolis, IN, Nov. 9, 2009) – On the heels of an historic late night vote in the House of Representatives for a good, balanced health care reform bill, the Indiana AFL-CIO released its scoring of how our state’s U.S. representatives voted on HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

The legislation which passed Saturday evening by a vote of 220 to 215, would finally bring security and stability to our nation’s health care system. Working families would get much needed relief from skyrocketing health care prices by being able to choose between a public option and private for-profit insurance.

Indiana Congressional Health Care Scorecard

A+ /Sided with Working Families
Andre Carson
Joe Donnelly
Brad Ellsworth
Baron Hill
Pete Visclosky


F-/ Sided With Insurance Companies
Dan Burton
Steve Buyer
Mike Pence
Mark Sauder

“This is an historic victory that moves Hoosier working families one step closer to the passage of real health care reform, “said Ken Zeller. “Working families will remember who fulfilled the promises they were elected on and they will continue to stand with their Representatives who delivered.”

The legislation would also help small businesses access quality, affordable health care with lower rates and stable pricing from year to year. And it would lessen the burden of covering the uninsured by requiring employers to provide health care for their employers or pay into a common fund.

The House bill is also financed in a responsible way – it is fully paid for and would reduce our nation’s rising deficits. Furthermore, it does not attempt to pay for health care on the backs of middle class working families by increasing taxes on the health care that families are already struggling to pay for.

Once the Senate votes on its own bill, the two bills will be reconciled into final health care reform legislation.

Send Your Best Wishes to our Fort Hood Hero

by James Parks, Nov 10, 2009

Sgt. Kimberly Munley is a bona fide hero, having risked her life to stop the alleged gunman who killed 13 people and injured 30 at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5. Munley shot the alleged assailant, Maj. Nidal Hasan, four times, despite being shot herself. She currently is recovering from her injuries and is in stable condition.

Now her union, AFGE, has set up a site where you can send your best wishes to Sgt. Munley. Just click here and compose a message to her. Your messages will be collected and AFGE will deliver the messages to Munley on Friday, Nov. 20.

Munley, 34, is a member of AFGE Local 1920 and the mother of a three-year-old. She and her partner were the first to arrive at the Soldier Readiness Center, where Hasan allegedly opened fire.

AFGE President John Gage said Munley “acted with great heroism.”

Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, commanding general at Fort Hood, told CNN that Munley’s actions stopped Hasan cold and saved lives. He said Munley is a “trained, active first responder” who acted quickly after she “just happened to encounter the gunman.”
Source: AFL-CIO Blog

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Donnelly - Good for You



I was watching the debate on health care reform closely yesterday and gritted my teeth during the vote, preparing my mind to work my heart out to defeat Joe Donnelly in the next primary if he should end up voting the wrong way.
But alas, Joe came through for retirees and working families to bring us one step closer to reforming our deplorable health care system.

Congratulations Joe Donnelly and thanks so much for remembering who hired you. Now, keep it up. So far, your votes in Congress have been right on.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Republicans in Congress

Phone or email your Congressman today

The House will likely vote on their health care bill tomorrow, a bill that guarantees quality, affordable health care for all and gives us a choice of a public health insurance option. It meets all of our principles and deserves to be passed.

Yesterday, I participated in a conference call sponsored by the Alliance for Retired Americans. I learned a few things about the U.S. House of Representatives health reform bill HR3962 and want to share what I learned with you.

  • The AARP and the American Medical Association have both endorsed the bill.
  • The bill will strengthen the Medicare Trust Fund.
  • Without reform, in 2010, every couple will pay an additional $90 per year in their Part B premiums just to subsidize the so called “Medicare Advantage” private insurance plans.
  • The bill will begin to close the Medicare Part D Donut Hole. In 2010, those who find themselves in the Donut Hole would see a 50% decrease in their drug costs.
  • The bill would develop policies to more quickly allow those high tech biological drugs (such as cancer drugs) to become generic drugs.
  • Currently, an insurance company can charge premiums for a 64 year old eleven times what the premium for a 24 year old would be charged.
  • The new bill would eliminate the co pays (out of pocket costs) for preventive care.
  • Without healthcare reform, physicians face a 21% cut in pay.
  • The bill allows for bulk purchasing of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients.
  • It also allows Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices with the drug companies.
  • The new bill would develop incentives to reward affective transitional care from hospital to follow up physician care.
  • It would also have incentives to help reduce hospital infections.

If you haven’t phoned or emailed your congressman, please do so today because congress will vote on it tomorrow (Saturday). They need to vote for HR3962.

Thanks.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Congratulations to Georgia Pacific Workers

Today, the workers at the Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant in Wheatfield, Indiana won their election to be members of the United Steelworkers Union.

We need the Employee Free Choice Act so workers won't ever have to go through what this stinking company has put them through for the last three years.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Georgia Pacific Field of Dreams

Union members at the Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant in Wheatfield, Indiana fought a long and hard battle and finally ratified a labor contract last spring. Shortly before the ratification vote, a decertification petition was filed with the National Labor Relations Board by a small group which has opposed union representation from the very start. The USW filed several unfair labor practice charges that were settled by Georgia-Pacific and a 60 day posting time has passed which is now allowing for this decertification election.
These local members needed our show of support so on November 3, 2009, Steelworkers and SOAR members rallied outside the gate of the Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant in Wheatfield, Indiana.Georgia Pacific management is giving the same old speeches of past organizing campaigns filled with empty threats and promises. No matter how many boss's come and go our union contract protects their wages, benefits and working conditions.

Here's the company lingo:

"We have a new and better way of doing things, it's called MBM. Give us a year to put our new ideas into effect."........... Koch, owner, 2006

"Give me another year...if it doesn't get better, you can vote for a union next year."...Kurt Riggen, former Plant Manager, 2007

"I have a lot of ideas, give me one year to make imporovements. If it doesn't get better you can vote for a union next year."...Dave Sunberg, Current plant manager, 2009

A worker could ask him/her self three questions.
Has Georgia Pacific/Koch ever lived up to any of their promises?Was GP Wheatfield a better place to work before union representation?While Georgia Pacific management was looking to cut your wages and benefits while giving themselves raises and bonuses....Who's been fighting for you?The United Steelworkers!

Don't fall for Georgia Pacific's "Field of Dreams"
Vote Yes!

Monday, November 02, 2009

It's hard to be a Blogger, Georgia Pacific

In attempting to be a blogger, I'm not doing too good. I'm saying in so few words what otherwise could be said in so many. If any of you have details of a college course I could get that could teach me how to say in 1000 words or more what otherwise could be said in 10 words or less, please let me know.

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 3, we will have a short demonstration in Wheatfield, Indiana at the Georgia Pacific gypsum plant. The demonstration will be from 2:00 pm till 3:30 pm CST. The location is on Co. Rd. 1350 North in Wheatfield, just next to that huge NIPSCO generating station.

Even though Georgia-Pacific workers now have a first contract, they are still facing a decertification vote due to a small group who never wanted union representation.

GP workers need our support to finally put this behind them and to help give them the opportunity to build a strong active local union. The local union members have
fought long and hard together against an anti-union Georgia Pacific management. We can’t allow all their hard work to be for nothing! Please come and support these courageous workers one more time and send a clear message to Georgia Paific management that the union is here to stay!

Contact persons: Ted Sautter 219-793-5346 or Mike O’Brien 219-765-7778

See what I mean? Just not enough words. This could have taken a half hour to read.

Friday, October 30, 2009

RALLY for GP Gypsum Workers

Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm cst

Georgia-Pacific Gypsum
Co Rd 1350 North
Wheatfield, IN

Even though Georgia-Pacific workers now have a first contract they are still facing a decertification vote on Thursday, November 5 due to a small group who never wanted union representation.

GP workers need our support to finally put this behind them and to help give them the opportunity to build a strong active local union. The local union members have
fought long and hard together against an anti-union GP management. We can’t allow all
their hard work to be for nothing! Please come and support these courageous workers one more time and send a clear message to GP management that the union is here to stay!

Contact persons: Ted Sautter 219-793-5346 or Mike O’Brien 219-765-7778

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a great show of solidarity at Federal Mogul

Just couldn't have asked for a better turn out today at our demonstration against the turncoat, renegade, cheating, corrupt, crooked, thieving company of Federal Mogul down in Logansport, Indiana.
Really showed what unionism is all about. Thankyou everyone who was able to be with us.

Rally photos can be seen here:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Retirees Wanted at Federal Mogul Demonstration

Come and help the retirees at Federal Mogul Corporation located in Logansport, Indiana.

They will demonstrate in front of this company at 3pm EDT, Wednesday, October 28.

This renegade company is trying to eliminate health insurance for their retirees. People who gave up wages throughout the years so they could have health insurance when they retire, and now the company wants to dump them.

If we keep letting this happen, none of us will be secure in our retirement years.

You can find out the particulars by clicking here.
Thanks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feral Mongrel, a.k.a. Federal Mogul (What's the difference)

Feral Mongrel, a.k.a. Federal Mogul, is the company in Logansport, Indiana that is wanting to eliminate medical insurance for their retirees, thus requiring the rest of us to foot the bill.

This renegade company is located just a golf shot south of Logansport, Indiana on route 29.

It's located on the east side of the highway.

The address is 101 Industrial Blvd., Logansport, Indiana 46947.

If you would like to give them a call to let them know that they are on the wrong side of humanity, the phone number is: 574-722-6141.

Be sure to let them know that you know someone who is retired. Remind them that they know someone in their family who is retired.

Remind them that some day, they will also be retired.

Are you listening Congressman Donnelly? Now do you see why we need a public option included in the health insurance reform? To make up for poor coporate citizens like Feral Mongrel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Federal Mogul Ain't no Cute Pig

Nope. Federal Mogul Corporation down in Logansport, Indiana ain't no cute kind of pig.

Oh no, this pig has been to the city trough enough times to qualify as an out and out hog.

We'll supply jobs with good benefits. Sure they will. Then after a few years cut the benefits and put the city, state and federal government and taxpayers on the hook for what remains.

This stinking company, Federal Mogul, is the worse kind of corporate citizen.

Negotiates benefits, then when retirees look for some little bit of security and pleasant retirement in their golden years, this rotten company puts the fright into them by suggesting they want to take away their medical insurance.

You know what? That suggestion came out someone's mouth. Not everyone's mouth. Just that one persons mouth. I want to know who that one person is.

Who's side is Joe Donnelly on? I want to know the answer to that question too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Stinking fish in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District

What does a rotten-to-the-core company do to the retirees of that company who devoted their working lives helping it succeed? Try to eliminate their health insurance, that’s what.

Federal Mogul, the company in Logansport, Indiana that makes Carter fuel pumps, wants to eliminate the medical insurance for those retirees who devoted their working lives to this once proud company.

Today, I can say that Federal Mogul is the absolute worst company in Indiana. If they succeed in eliminating health insurance for their retirees, they will be the worst company in the nation as far as I’m concerned. If they fail in their attempt to eliminate this insurance for retirees, then they are guilty of scaring retirees unnecessarily.

I hope Congressman Joe Donnelly takes notice of this stinking rotten company, Federal Mogul, and heaps on them the just reward they will surely get some day.

Shame on Federal Mogul and any member of that management team that assists that company in treating their retirees with such contemptible behavior.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

News from the National Alliance for Retired Americans


News from the National Alliance for Retired Americans
Barbara J. Easterling, President

As president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, I know that many older people are scared and confused, fearful of the change that health reform may bring.

While retirees have a lot to gain from health reform, you would never know it from all the mean-spirited myths and falsehoods that are out there. Seniors are scared and confused because powerful interests are spending millions of dollars – and spreading millions of lies – to preserve the status quo, a broken system that puts profits ahead of people, special interests ahead of the public interest.

Let’s make it our mission to help separate fact from fiction. When someone says to you that health reform will be bad for seniors, set the record straight.

Tell them how we have an opportunity to close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, lower prescription drug costs, help early retirees afford health care coverage, and assist middle-class families with the costs of long-term care. We can end the out-of-control premium increases at the big insurance companies through fair competition from a high-quality public alternative to the corporations who profit by denying us care and discriminating against our pre-existing conditions.

But this is not just about us. Think about your children and grandchildren. How are they doing in these difficult times? What would happen if they lost their job? At a time of sky-high premiums and unfair rules against pre-existing conditions, would they be able to get health insurance? Would they be able to pay their doctor’s bill or get a prescription filled?

My fellow retirees, our working days may be over, but our fighting spirit burns as strong as ever. We have an exciting chance to improve health care in America. This can be our lasting legacy, and I know we can do it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Republicans are Callous

Every day this month, 7,000 workers without jobs will lose their unemployment compensation. Why?, because of two heartless right wingers. Senators Orin Hatch, Republican from Utah, and Senator John Kyl, Republican from Arizona.

These two have twice blocked attempts in the U.S. Senate to extend unemployment benefits. Got money to make war? Sure. Got enough to give big tax breaks to the wealthy? Sure. But do we have enough money to help the unemployed? Hell no.

Leave it to the right wing nuts to ruin a country. It's no wonder that the conservatives are re-writing the Bible.

As Jack Clark says, "right wingers only vote for things that cause human pain, misery, suffering and death."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Brett Voorhies for Indiana House of Representatives

Yesterday I met a guy from Indianapolis who is running for the Indiana House of Representatives in District 92 (West Indianapolis).

Brett Voorhies, long time Steelworker is taking the plunge into politics for the first time. I'm so impressed with this guy, that I just had to tell you about him.

Brett has been the legislative representative for the Steelworkers Union in Indiana for the past several years, and he'll make a great representative for retirees and working families in our state.

You can become acquainted with Brett by going to his website at the following web address:


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Health Insurance update

So, the Senate Finance Committee finally passed their version of health care reform. Well, just one Republican't voted in favor of it. But it did pass.
This means we move forward with the legislation.
Actually the Finance Committee version stinks for the following reasons:

  1. It taxes healthcare benefits, potentially impacting thousands of USW members with higher-cost plans. These plans could be expensive because they cover older workers, workers with worse than average health histories or even because of a geographic area. While the tax is levied on insurers, or self-insured employers, the cost will undoubtedly be passed on to workers in the form of higher premiums.
  2. It doesn’t include a public option. A public option – like in the House bill – would provide real competition for private insurance companies.
  3. Employers are not required to contribute in some way towards employees’ healthcare, allowing irresponsible employers to continue dumping their healthcare costs on others with no penalty.
Senator Bayh from Indiana is the guy we need to give some encouragement to.

Please write to him or call him and tell him to do the right thing when the final bill comes up for a vote.
We need the public option.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Let Congress Go Without Insurance

Let me offer a modest proposal: If Congress fails to pass comprehensive health reform this year, its members should surrender health insurance in proportion with the American population that is uninsured.

It may be that the lulling effect of having very fine health insurance leaves members of Congress insensitive to the dysfunction of our existing insurance system. So what better way to attune our leaders to the needs of their constituents than to put them in the same position?

About 15 percent of Americans have no health insurance, according to the Census Bureau. Another 8 percent are underinsured, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research group. So I propose that if health reform fails this year, 15 percent of members of Congress, along with their families, randomly lose all health insurance and another 8 percent receive inadequate coverage.

Congressional critics of President Obama’s efforts to achieve health reform worry that universal coverage will be expensive, while their priority is to curb social spending. So here’s their chance to save government dollars in keeping with their own priorities.

Those same critics sometimes argue that universal coverage needn’t be a top priority because anybody can get coverage at the emergency room. Let them try that with their kids.

Some members also worry that a public option (an effective way to bring competition to the insurance market) would compete unfairly with private companies and amount to a step toward socialism. If they object so passionately to “socialized health,” why don’t they block their 911 service to socialized police and fire services, disconnect themselves from socialized sewers and avoid socialized interstate highways?

I wouldn’t wish the trauma of losing health insurance on anyone, but our politicians’ failure to assure health care for all citizens is such a longstanding and grievous breach of their responsibility that they deserve it. In January 1917, Progressive Magazine wrote: “At present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the only great industrial nation without universal health insurance." More than 90 years later, we still have that distinction.

Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for national health insurance in 1912. Richard Nixon tried for universal coverage in 1974. Yet, even now, nearly half of Congress is vigorously opposed to such a plan.

Health care has often been debated as a technical or economic issue. That has been a mistake, I believe. At root, universal health care is not an economic or technical question but a moral one.

We accept that life is unfair, that some people will live in cramped apartments and others in sprawling mansions. But our existing insurance system is not simply inequitable but also lethal: a very recent, peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health finds that nearly 45,000 uninsured people die annually as a consequence of not having insurance. That’s one needless death every 12 minutes.

When nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, we began wars and were willing to devote more than $1 trillion in additional expenses. Yet about the same number of Americans die from our failed insurance system every three weeks.

The obstacle isn’t so much money as priorities. America made it a priority to provide tax breaks, largely to the wealthy, in the Bush years, at a 10-year cost including interest of $2.4 trillion. Allocating less than half that much to assure equal access to health care isn’t deemed an equal priority.

The plan emerging in the Senate is no panacea. America needs to promote exercise and discourage sugary drinks to hold down the rise in obesity, diabetes and medical bills. We need more competition among insurance companies. And conservatives are right to call for tort reform to reduce the costs of malpractice insurance and defensive medicine.

But those steps are not a substitute for guaranteed health coverage for all Americans. And if health reform fails this year, then hopes for universal coverage will recede again. There was a lag of 19 years after the Nixon plan before another serious try, and a 16-year lag after the Clinton effort of 1993. Another 16-year delay would be accompanied by more than 700,000 unnecessary deaths. That’s more Americans than died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq combined.

The collapse of health reform would be a political and policy failure, but it would also be a profound moral failure. Periodically, there are political questions that are fundamentally moral, including slavery in the 19th century and civil rights battles in the 1950s and ’60s. In the same way, allowing tens of thousands of Americans to die each year because they are uninsured is not simply unwise and unfortunate. It is also wrong — a moral blot on a great nation.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wake up NIPSCO

NIPSCO is at it again. Hiring outside contractors to do the work at NIPSCO that NIPSCO management should be doing.

The last time it was some company in Costa Rica that ended up screwing up the whole payroll system.

This time it's an outside company to manage their workers negotiated sick leave benefits. Naturally, the company they hired to do this for them is incompetent.

Now, I don't want to have to write about this kind of stuff, or Royal Center explosions or anything else pertaining to NIPSCO unless is it's something good. So NIPSCO management, get off your duffs and start doing your jobs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Advise

Never,/ever/spill/gin/and/tonic/onto/your/computer/keyboard.

Actually,/I/really/don't/think/I/need/a/space/bar/anyway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

NIPSCO Medical Insurance informational meetings

October 13- South Bend LOA from at 9:30 and 1:00 EST, Large Conf Room

October 16- Plymouth 9:30 and 1:00 EST, Large Conf Room

October 19- SLC 9:30 and 1:30 CST, ABC Conf Room

October 20 -Fort Wayne 9:30 and 1:00 EST, Bldg 7 Large Conf Room

All are at operating headquarters (except Southlake).

All retirees will be notified by US mail – even post-65’ers, since they may have pre-65 spouses.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where have all the Republicans gone?

The truth of the matter is that there aren't any. The ones that call themselves Republicans are simply phonies. Ike was the last real Republican. Nowadays, Republicans are just plain mean spirited no nothings.
They don't have to read legislation when they have it in their minds before hand that they're going to vote no on anything that attempts to help people.
Even the so called Republican Congressman from Indiana seem to want to show just how stupid they are. The biggest surprise to me is Congressman Mike Pence. Affiliating himself with the right wing nuts.
What a shame.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A September 11th Memory


Back row, left to right are Alton Glass, Dave Trach and Charlie Averill
Front row, left to right are George Banks, Heidi Templeton, Senator Hillary Clinton, and John Knight. This photograph was taken after our return to Washington.

Explanation

After writing an article to explain this photograph, I decided to check past issues of a SOAR Chapter newsletter that our SOAR Chapter puts out every other month. Success…..I was surprised that the two articles were very similar, proving that I still have some of my memory left. I decided to use the original article here, for accuracy, and only added two sentences.

Because so many steel companies have filed for bankruptcy due to the illegal dumping of foreign steel into our country, about 600,000 Steelworker retirees are in jeopardy of losing their medical insurance, and in some cases, part of their pensions. These benefit costs, which companies overseas don’t have to deal with, are referred to as “legacy” costs.

Our Steelworkers Union and SOAR decided that it would be a good idea to include SOAR members in their lobbying efforts. I was asked to participate in this new program and reported to the USWA Political and Legislative Office in Washington D.C., (located just a few blocks north of the White House), on Monday, September 10th along with seven other members of SOAR.
A photograph was taken and an accompanying article about the program appeared on the cover of the Sept/Oct issue of the Oldtimer magazine.

And now….. The rest of the story:

On the second day of the program, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, terrorists attacked our country. The Pentagon was hit by one of the planes. We watched the unfolding tragedy on television as the World Trade Center buildings came crashing down and we listened to the sirens as the police cars, ambulances and fire trucks raced to and from the Pentagon.
The subway (Metro) was shut down and our building was locked.
I remember checking my email and seeing a message from my son to my wife Elaine, asking, “is Dad ok?”

I must say that only once before had I experienced the same feelings as produced on that day. It was the day my ship (U.S.S. Walker DD-517) was returning from the Vietnam area and receiving "Flash" message by flashing light (I was a Signalman) saying simply that, “The President has been shot” (President Kennedy).

Bill Klinefelter, the USWA Legislative Director at the time, and Jim Centner, SOAR Director, thought it best that the internship program be postponed until the situation returned to normal, and we were advised to head for home.

Three of us had flown to Washington and were unable to catch either a flight, train or bus. Washington took on the appearance of a combat zone with Hummer vehicles on practically every corner manned by soldiers directing traffic for the passing ambulances and fire trucks. We were unable to get close enough to the Pentagon to get a good view or photo. Finally, on the following Friday we were able to rent cars and headed for home.

I rode back to Indiana with Dave Trach, SOAR Executive Board Member from District 11 who lives in Minnesota. Dave stayed over night at my house and after breakfast the following morning, he headed for home.

The Internship was rescheduled for October 22 – November 9. Four retirees were able to make it. Upon reporting for work on the first day, we found fire trucks and police cars in front of the building and the street blocked off. Apparently, a below ground level transformer had blown up. We entered the building through the rear entrance but about an hour later, the electricity was cut off and we were forced to evacuate the building until the following day.

Our original mission had been to lobby the Senate for passage of HR 808, the Steel Revitalization Act. The program was later changed to work on the Unemployment Compensation part of the “stimulus package” and it was again changed to find out if Senators would support an amendment to the stimulus package dealing with the legacy costs.

Senator’s offices, because of the anthrax problems, were extremely difficult to find. Their offices were closed for cleaning and they had set up their temporary offices in any closet or cubbyhole they could find. They were accepting no mail or faxes so we had an almost impossible mission of delivering material to them. Some of us got the feeling that their staffs were enjoying the disruption.

The experience I had in Washington D.C. was a very good one nevertheless. Like other things in life, practice makes perfect and I think I’m better able to do a decent job lobbying my congressmen than I otherwise would have been.

I hope our USWA and SOAR will continue this program.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bass Lake Tallest Corn Award


After soliciting the people living around Bass Lake to save all of the Republican lies, distortions and racial hate speech having to do with Healthcare Reform that has been mailed to them, I was able to collect three 20 gallon garbage cans full of the crap.

I then soaked the hate filled lies in four five gallon buckets of water. It was pretty stinky so I had to take it out behind the wood shed. One week later I soaked the ground beneath this corn stalk. There was enough propaganda to allow me to do this eight more times.

The corn grew fifteen feet tall. After the Bass Lake Tallest Corn Committee (BLTCC) got a chance to measure it, they gave me the BLTCCA (Bass Lake Tallest Corn Committee Award).

I want to thank the Republican Party, especially the RNC Chairman, Michael Steele and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley as they provided the most manure and I couldn't have done it without them.

You can enlarge the photo above by clicking on it

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Union Beer


The only thing better than an icy cold beer on a hot summer day is a union brew to quench your thirst for labor solidarity. Union beers include all Miller and Anheuser-Busch products including Miller High Life, Genuine Draft and Lite, Milwaukees Best, Sharps, Icehouse, Red Dog & Hamms (Miller), and Budweiser, Bud Light and Budweiser American Ale, Michelob, Shock Top, Busch, Natural Light, Rolling Rock and ODouls (Anheuser-Busch) - as well as Leinenkugels, Iron City, Mad River Brewing and Henry Weinhards. “Drink beer made by union members,” the union brewery workers urge, “You’ll feel better in the morning.”

(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Monday, August 31, 2009

America's Seniors and Health Insurance Reform

Protecting Coverage and Strengthening Medicare

If you are on Medicare, or if you will soon be on Medicare, you owe it to yourself to read the following senior report.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Last Whirlpool Refrigerator

The last two refrigerators we had were manufactured by Whirlpool, here in the United States.

The South Bend Tribune this morning reports that Whirlpool will be shutting down their Whirlpool refrigerator plant in Evansville, Indiana in 2010 which will cut 1,100 production jobs.

Whirlpool is moving this refrigerator production plant to Mexico. They're doing this not for productivity, but simply for cheap labor.

Whirlpool has provided me with my last refrigerator. In my opinion, Whirlpool has become a rotten, disloyal, unpatriotic company.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are there any Republicans on Medicare Part B? Surely Not!

Republicans have been claiming that they don't want health care reform, particularly a government program.

Now since they've paid into Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) through their Social Security taxes, I doubt if they will refuse Medicare Part A when they become eligible.

I wonder if any Republicans are getting Medicare Part B (medical insurance). I doubt it since it's optional and they would have to pay a premium to the government for it. Surely they wouldn't want a government program would they? In fact, if they were true to their principles, there wouldn't be any Republicans on Medicare Part B. Do you think there are any Republicans or any others who claim to be 'anti-government program' on Medicare Part B? Surely not.

In other words, there aren't any of these people who claim to be anti-government speaking with forked tongues are there?

Right Wingers......they are a funny lot.